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An incredibly important part of YouTube, though one many YouTube channels completely overlook, is understanding which videos drive the most subscribers. Some might assume that it’s merely the videos with the most views, and to some degree they might be right – videos with considerably more views, tend to have gained you more subscribers to your channel overall.
But what many overlook, is how many subscribers a video drives per view – that is, the percentage of viewers who turn into subscribers.
Why is this an important figure at all? Well, let’s have a look at some of the reasons:
The important thing to remember here, is that if a person views your video, that’s great. But they’ve viewed 1 video, 1 time. If a person subscribers to your channel, that person may now view (on average) around 10-20% of all videos you upload in the future, not to mention that they might go back and watch older videos if something is part of an on-going series. A subscriber is worth much more than a single view.
First off, you obviously need to be logged in to your YouTube channel. Throughout the guide, I will be using my own personal account as an example, but things should look almost identical to you.
1) Click on your icon in the top right corner of YouTube, and a small dropdown menu will appear. Click on “Creator Studio”.
2) Once you have done that, you will be presented with various information about your channel and account. On the left side of the screen, there will be a menu – click on “Analytics”.
3) A further dropdown menu will appear, click on the tab called “Views”. You might assume that the correct tab would be “Subscribers”, but ironically this doesn’t contain the information and data that we need to work with.
4) Next up, we’ll want to change the date range of the data. Analytics, by default, shows you the data from the last 28 days, but many of your videos are bound to be considerably older. In this case, we’ll set the date range to the last 365 days – though you could also have set it to “Lifetime”. We do this by clicking the date dropdown menu in the top right corner.
5) Once you’ve done that, click on the button next to it, that says “Download Report”.
6) Time to open up Microsoft Excel now (this should work in other editors too, such as Google Docs, but I’m not expert on that). What you’ve downloaded is called a CSV file – that means that if you just open it, it’s going to look like rubbish, with a lot of numbers separated by commas. Instead, once you have opened up Excel, go to the tab called “Data”, and click “From Text”. Navigate to the file you just downloaded, and open it. You will be greeted by an image that looks a lot like this (my Excel is in Danish). The important bit is to make sure that “Delimited” is selected, and then click “Next”.
7) On the next tab, deselect any other option, and make sure that “Comma” is selected. Then click finish.
8) You’re now seeing all the data neatly presented to you. You’ll want to scroll all the way to the right, and give a name to a new column – I personally wrote Subscriber Percentage, but you can call it whatever you want.
9) Under that, you’ll want to fill out the following code:
This is saying that the subscribers you gained, should be divided by the amount of views on the video, and then multiply that number by 1000. Why 1000? Because usually the number is very very low, so it’s simply easier looking at a collectively bigger number.
10) Once you’ve done that, simply copy that code all the way down to cover all the videos you have in the document. You can do that by copy/paste, or simply grab the corner of the box and drag it to the bottom.
11) Next up is selecting the entire top row, and in the Data tab, click “Filter”.
12) Now, go back to the column I named Subscriber Percentage. Click on the little button in the corner of it, and select “Sort by largest” and click OK.
13) You have now sorted all the videos in the document, by which of them drives the most subscribers compared to their views, in an ascending order with the ones driving the most subscribers at the top of the list.
OK, now you actually have a perfectly good list of which videos drive the most subscribers, in comparison to how many views they are getting, in a prioritised order. But there’s a little more to it than that!
See, this is where the human mind needs to do a little bit of work, and not just rely purely on the numbers. First off, if you go back to the part where you can see the videos, and their views, you’ll probably notice that a lot of the top ranking videos in the list, doesn’t have as many views as many of your other videos.
The thing is, that as a video gets more and more views, it’s pretty common to see Viewer Engagement (how often a viewer subscribes, likes, comments, and so forth on the video) go down as the views go up. There’s also a matter of statistical certainty in the numbers. For instance, if you have a video with a massively bigger percentage of subscribers than others, but it only got 10 views and 2 subscribers, that’s not necessarily a sign that you should produce more of that type of content, or that you should promote that video specifically. There’s simply not enough data there to draw any conclusion on whether people liked that video more, or less, than any other.
So now that you actually have a list, you’ve made sense of that list, and you know you’ve chosen some good videos to move onwards with – well, what do you actually do? What’s the next step?
Frankly, the next step is a million steps, and they can go in all directions depending on a ton of different factors.
If you have some cash to spare, work for an agency or manage a brand channel, setting up AdWords might be a good idea. Since you now know exactly which videos will give you the biggest return on your money, it’s only a matter of getting them thrown out there for people to find.
Alternatively, if you haven’t optimized your videos, that is obviously something you should do. In fact, if you have a lot of videos that need optimization, but you have limited time, making a list like this is a great way to get an idea of what videos you should start with.
Another great idea is to share those videos on relevant sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, your own site, appropriate forums, and so on. If you’ve already shared them, don’t be afraid of re-sharing them (where it makes sense – most forums, for instance, would not take kindly to this) to people, perhaps on your Facebook page.
YouTube Analytics is incredibly underused by the community on YouTube. It contains a wealth of data (though more would be nice), yet so many channels completely ignore it, which is a shame as the knowledge in those numbers can greatly help improve a channels organic growth.
This is just one example of how you can use YouTube Analytics to gain great insight into your fan base, with a wealth of others being available to you too.